Did you know that when you get a wound, and your body heals itself, the tear is never actually fixed? Scar tissue – made of collagen – closes the wound and holds it together – forever. Your skin does not merge; you are permanently broken but held together.
During World War II, they studied the effects of vitamin C deficiency – scurvy – to determine what food was needed in lifeboats. They gave volunteers a diet with no vitamin C. One of the results was that people’s scars popped open after a time. It turns out collagen needs vitamin C to remain strong. Collagen holds us together.
Our faith story tells us that Jesus went to the cross for us. He endured crucifixion and bears many scars, most notably, those where the nails held him to the cross. I find it profound that our God – the immaculate, perfect being – took on flesh and lived our experience – right down to bearing wounds for us. Wounds that will never be perfectly restored.
How is it possible that God – Perfection – can forever bear the marks of imperfection? It profoundly changes my understanding of God and perfection. This God who says, ‘see my hands’. Humble. Giving. Compassionate. The scars are his Glory.
I can come to this God knowing my brokenness and scars pose no shame. Indeed, after this, I come broken, knowing that Christ holds me together – forever.
Rev Paul Clark leads the congregation at Redcliffe Uniting church.